Kangaroo Jack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kangaroo Jack
A kangaroo wearing sunglasses and red Brooklyn hoodie
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid McNally
Screenplay by
Story by
Produced byJerry Bruckheimer
CinematographyPeter Menzies Jr.
Edited by
Music byTrevor Rabin
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures (through Roadshow Entertainment in Australia[1])
Release dates
  • January 17, 2003 (2003-01-17) (United States)
  • April 10, 2003 (2003-04-10) (Australia)
Running time
89 minutes
  • Australia
  • United States
Budget$60 million
Box office$88.9 million

Kangaroo Jack is a 2003 buddy comedy film directed by David McNally from a screenplay by Steve Bing and Scott Rosenberg with a story by Bing and Barry O'Brien. It is also produced by Jerry Bruckheimer with music by Trevor Rabin. The film tells the story of two childhood friends who get caught up with the mob and are forced to deliver $50,000 to Australia, but things go haywire when the money is lost to a wild kangaroo. It stars Jerry O'Connell, Anthony Anderson, Estella Warren, Michael Shannon and Christopher Walken, with Adam Garcia as the uncredited voice of the titular character.

Kangaroo Jack was released in the United States on January 17, 2003, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film was strongly panned by critics, who criticized the screenplay, humor, violence, and innuendoes, especially for a family film, and false advertising, although the visuals and soundtrack were praised. It grossed $88.1 million worldwide on a $60 million budget.

An animated sequel titled Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.! was produced and released direct-to-video in 2004.


In 1982 Brooklyn, a boy named Charlie Carbone is about to become the stepson of crime boss Salvatore "Sal" Maggio. The mobster's apprentice Frankie Lombardo tries to drown Charlie, but a boy named Louis Booker saves him, and they become friends.

Twenty years later, Charlie operates a beauty salon set up by Sal, whose henchmen take 80% of the profits, barely leaving Charlie enough money for maintenance. After they botch hiding some stolen TVs, Sal gives Charlie and Louis one more chance. Under instructions from Frankie, they are to deliver a package to a man named Mr. Smith in Coober Pedy, Australia. Frankie also warns them against opening the package, and provides them with Mr. Smith's number. Unknown to the duo, Sal has cancelled their return trip. Louis opens the package on the plane and finds $50,000 cash.

Arriving in Australia, Charlie and Louis drive to Coober Pedy. Along their way, they accidentally run over a red kangaroo. Louis thinks it is dead and puts his jacket and sunglasses on the kangaroo, posing for photographs as a joke. The kangaroo suddenly regains consciousness, kicks Charlie, and hops away with the $50,000 in the jacket. Charlie and Louis give chase but crash their rental car, and the kangaroo escapes.

At a pub in Alice Springs, Louis calls Mr. Smith, who thinks he and Charlie stole his package and threatens to kill them. Back in New York, Sal gets a call from Mr. Smith complaining that Charlie and Louis haven't arrived, then sends Frankie and some henchmen to Australia to investigate. Meanwhile, Charlie and Louis attempt to reclaim the money from the kangaroo by shooting it with a tranquilizer in a plane. The attempt fails when Louis accidentally shoots Blue, the pilot, and strands the duo in the desert. They spend hours wandering in the desert, during which Charlie hallucinates finding a jeep, and they soon meet Jessie, an American woman from the Outback Wildlife Foundation. After being knocked out by Jessie, Charlie has a nightmare with a speaking version of the kangaroo, plus two other kangaroos possessing Sal and Louis's voices, who taunt him by calling him "Chicken Blood" repeatedly.

The following day, the three track the kangaroo to the Todd River, attempting to catch it with bolas, but Louis accidentally botches their attempt when ants crawl up his pants. While waiting for the next opportunity to catch the kangaroo, Charlie begins developing feelings for Jessie. Mr. Smith and his henchmen shortly arrive and capture the trio. Charlie and Louis outsmart them, but find Frankie has tracked them down and is prepared to kill them. The kangaroo suddenly returns, causing a fist fight between Mr. Smith's henchmen and Frankie's crew, who outmatch them. The distraction allows Charlie, Louis and Jessie to escape. The duo chases after the kangaroo while being pursued by Frankie and his goons. Louis finally retrieves the money from the kangaroo, and Charlie narrowly saves him from falling off a cliff. Charlie tries to hand the money to Frankie, who angrily declines and reveals that Sal sent them to Australia to pay for their own execution at the hands of Mr. Smith. The police force, led by a cop working undercover as an Outback guide, arrives and arrests Frankie, Mr. Smith, and their henchmen. Charlie reclaims Louis' jacket from the kangaroo.

One year later, Charlie and Jessie are married and have used Sal's $50,000 to start a line of new hair care products bearing a kangaroo logo, along with Louis. Sal, Frankie, Mr. Smith, and their men have been imprisoned for life. The kangaroo, now called "Kangaroo Jack", continues to live happily in the Outback. Now able to speak again, Jack breaks the fourth wall, explaining why the film should end with him and closes it with his version of Porky Pig's famous catchphrase: "That's all, blokes!"


  • Jerry O'Connell as Charlie Carbone, the owner of a beauty salon.
    • Robert Reid as young Charlie Carbone
  • Anthony Anderson as Louis Booker, Charlie's best friend. Anderson also voices his kangaroo counterpart in Charlie's nightmare.
    • Shawn Smith as young Louis Booker
  • Estella Warren as Jessie, a member of the Outback Wildlife Foundation who helps Charlie and Louis and later becomes Charlie's wife.
  • Christopher Walken as Salvatore "Sal" Maggio, a mobster and Charlie's stepfather. Walken also voices his kangaroo counterpart in Charlie's nightmare.
  • Dyan Cannon as Anna Carbone, Charlie's mother
  • Michael Shannon as Frankie Lombardo, Sal's apprentice
    • Brian Casey as young Frankie Lombardo
  • Adam Garcia as Kangaroo Jack / "Jackie Legs" (voice, uncredited), a red kangaroo on whom Louis puts his "lucky jacket".
  • Marton Csokas as Mr. Smith, the intended recipient of Charlie and Louis's $50,000 package.
  • Bill Hunter as Blue, a pilot who Charlie and Louis enlist to help catch Jack.
  • Tony Nikolakopoulos as Sal's Capo, an unnamed caporegime who works for Sal.
  • David Ngoombujarra as Sergeant Jimmy Inkamale, an Australian Police officer who works undercover.
  • Christopher James Baker as Crumble
  • Lara Cox as Cute Girl On Plane
  • Frank Welker as Special Vocal Effects
  • Denise Roberts as Tansy
  • Helen Thomson as TV announcer


Initially the film was titled Down and Under and was shot as a mob comedy in the style of Midnight Run.[2] The film began shooting in Australia in August 2001, lasting about six months in total, and originally included cursing, sex, and violence. However, the film's producers were dissatisfied by the first rough cut.[3] Inspired by positive response to the kangaroo scene in early test screenings, as well as the marketing campaign behind the recently released Snow Dogs, the production shifted the marketing focus away from that of a dark mafia comedy to that of a family-friendly animal picture. Extensive new footage that replaced the animatronic kangaroo with a new CGI one that rapped was shot, and the film was edited down to a PG-rated family animal comedy.[4] Even though Adam Garcia voiced Kangaroo Jack, he was not credited for the role.


Theatrical release[edit]

Kangaroo Jack was theatrically released on January 17, 2003, by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Home media[edit]

Kangaroo Jack was released on DVD and VHS on June 24, 2003, by Warner Home Video. The film was then re-released on DVD in 2011.


Box office[edit]

The film was released on January 17, 2003 and ranked No. 1 that weekend. It grossed $66,934,963 at the North American domestic box office and $21,994,148 internationally for a worldwide total of $88,929,111.

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 8% of 115 critics gave the film a positive reviews, with an average rating of 3.4/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "The humor is gratingly dumb, and Kangaroo Jack contains too much violence and sexual innuendo for a family movie."[5] On Metacritic it holds a weighted average score of 16 out of 100 based 25 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

Joe McGovern in The Village Voice described Kangaroo Jack as "witless" and stated "The colorless script...seems to have written itself from a patchwork of Wile E. Coyote cartoons, camel farts, and every high-pitched Aussie cliché to have echoed on these shores".[7] Nathan Rabin, reviewing the film for The A.V. Club, remarked "Kangaroo Jack's premise, trailer, and commercials promise little more than the spectacle of two enthusiastic actors being kicked over and over again by a sassy, computer-animated kangaroo—and, sadly, the film fails to deliver even that."[8] Gary Slaymaker in the British newspaper The Western Mail wrote "Kangaroo Jack is the most witless, pointless, charmless drivel unleashed on an unsuspecting public".[9]


For their performances, Anthony Anderson and Christopher Walken were both nominated for Worst Supporting Actor at the 24th Golden Raspberry Awards, but they lost to Sylvester Stallone for Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. The Australian newspaper The Age included Kangaroo Jack on its list of "worst films ever made".[10]

Organization Year Award Category Nominee Result
Kids' Choice Awards 2004 Kids' Choice Award Favorite Fart in a Movie Anthony Anderson Won
MTV Movie Awards 2003 MTV Movie Award Best Virtual Performance "Kangaroo Jack" Nominated
Razzie Awards 2004 Razzie Award Worst Supporting Actor Christopher Walken Nominated
Anthony Anderson Nominated
Teen Choice Awards 2003 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor - Comedy Anthony Anderson Nominated
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards 2003 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Supporting Actress Estella Warren Nominated
Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy Nominated
Least "Special" Special Effects Nominated
Most Annoying Non-Human Character Kangaroo Jack Nominated


The soundtrack was released by Hip-O Records on January 14, 2003.

  1. DJ Ötzi - "Hey Baby"
  2. Sugababes - "Round Round"
  3. Soft Cell - "Tainted Love"
  4. Lucia - "So Clever"
  5. Paulina Rubio - "Casanova"
  6. Shaggy - "Hey Sexy Lady"
  7. Shawn Desman - "Spread My Wings"
  8. Lil' Romeo - "2-Way"
  9. The Wiseguys - "Start the Commotion"
  10. The Sugarhill Gang - "Rapper's Delight"
  11. Men at Work - "Down Under"
  12. The Dude - "Rock Da Juice"

Animated sequel[edit]

The animated sequel Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.! was released direct-to-video on November 16, 2004.


  1. ^ "Kangaroo Jack (35mm)". Australian Classification Board. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  2. ^ "DVDTalk". dvdtalk.com.
  3. ^ Caffier, Justin (April 3, 2017). "Jerry O'Connell Looks Back on His Worst Movie, Kangaroo Jack". Vice. Archived from the original on March 21, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  4. ^ Patrick, Goldstein (January 28, 2003). "How Jack hopped away with a PG rating". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  5. ^ "Kangaroo Jack (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  6. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Kangaroo Jack" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  7. ^ Joe McGovern, "Kangaroo Jack". Village Voice. January 18, 2003. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  8. ^ Nathan Rabin, "Kangaroo Jack". The A.V. Club. January 27, 2003. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  9. ^ Gary Slaymaker, The Western Mail, May 16, 2003, (p.2)
  10. ^ Lawrie Zion, "Home Movies". The Age, September 11, 2003. (p.7)

External links[edit]